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to send this letter to the organiser of the Homestay company I work for? Need advice please.

(11 Posts)
EricNorthmansMistressOfPotions Mon 25-Jul-11 16:56:46

Dear Maria

I have a concern that I feel I need to put in writing to you. I have thought this over for a few days and I cannot leave it unsaid.

Last week on Saturday I was waiting to collect the children with two other hosts – I don’t know their names but one was the woman with short blonde/pink hair and the other was the older man who drives a taxi. Out of the blue he said 'I couldn't believe it when I got a chocolate drop, I've never had one in the house before, told the wife we have a chocolate drop, she couldn't believe it'

I was a bit shocked and said 'sorry, what do you mean by chocolate drop?' the other host (younger woman) said 'black' and he said 'a coloured, a darkie, a sambo, a nignog, a wog'

I’m sorry to say I said nothing at this point because I was extremely shocked at this language and attitude, and I felt that it wouldn’t be helpful to have a confrontation with him as the bus was due to arrive. I am sure that you are aware of the serious and extremely offensive nature of this language. What is worse than the language is the fact that it shows a highly racist nature and attitude. I couldn’t help worrying about the child who had been placed with a family who hold racist views and feel that it is acceptable to describe her in this way.

It is not my place to advise you on any course of action, but as the parent of a mixed race child, this is a personal issue to me. If I discovered that my son had been placed with a family who described him as a ‘nignog’ or a ‘wog’ I would be considering legal action.

I really feel that I need to bring this to your attention in order that you can carry out your duty of care to the children in possession of all the facts.

Yours sincerely,


eurochick Mon 25-Jul-11 17:04:31

I think you need to rewrite it as you seem to be implicating the younger woman who did nothing other than "translate" for you.

I don't think you are unreasonable to send the letter, but bear in mind that just because someone uses those terms, it doesn't mean they will treat the child staying with them badly. my grandfather used similar words (as did most of his generation back in the 70s/80s) but he was always very welcoming to my darker-skinned friends and never treated them differently to my other friends.

RLRefugee Mon 25-Jul-11 19:45:37

Pls send this letter.

I'm seething

purplepidjin Mon 25-Jul-11 19:49:45

Definitely make sure they're aware of this, that's abominably offensive shock

I'm not surprised you didn't react, with hindsight i bet you've thought up loads of comebacks but when you're on the spot like that the shock makes it hard to believe what you've heard.

What was the other woman's reaction?

purplepidjin Mon 25-Jul-11 19:52:36

PS my grandmother (aged 90) has in the past expressed certain shall we say "outdated" views but has the sense to know that terms like those the man used are offensive.

She thinks DP (I'm white, he's of Jamaican heritage) is wonderful and is longing for coffee-coloured great-grandchildren hmm

EricNorthmansMistressOfPotions Mon 25-Jul-11 20:07:25

Well I doubt the man is making her sleep in the shed, he was at pains to say she 'was fine' (despite being a nignog presumably) but I just don't believe that any a black child should be placed for a homestay, which the parents are paying for, with a family who are offensively stupid and racist.

The other woman sort of carried on the theme in an innocuous way, by saying that the last two students she had had were asian. She had already told me she didn't like confrontation (we were discussing how the coach had been late every day and whether we should say something) and I think she was kind of trying to take the sting out of what he said or something. I only mention her in the letter so that the organiser can ask her to corroborate if necessary.

I did think of lots of things to say after, but TBH if I had reacted I would have either shouted or cried and the bus was due in any moment. I didn't think that would have been helpful, very restrained for me hmm

EricNorthmansMistressOfPotions Mon 25-Jul-11 20:11:24

It's pretty scary how unregulated these agencies are. I had one visit initially from one woman, who then gave my details to this agency as they were short of hosts, this woman never even met me or came to see my house before sending the students to me, she didn't ask who lived in the house, nothing. I have two 13 year old girls here! Imagine the scenarios that could occur sad

squeakytoy Mon 25-Jul-11 20:17:35

I suppose its possible to hope that during her stay, this girl will make the man rethink his prejudice.

EricNorthmansMistressOfPotions Mon 25-Jul-11 20:33:13

Yes, squeaky, that may be true. I'd like to hope so, a little.

DartsRus Mon 25-Jul-11 20:48:07

I do hope you send a letter about this. I have a contract with a university who provide Homestay families for young men doing language training who are coming on to us for further training in a different subject with my department. (The english being to make sure they understand the follow on training we provide.)

The young men we are training are middle eastern and I would be appalled to think they could be exposed to these sort of attitudes. Would not be a good advert for Britain and could affect the numbers sent to us for training.

magicmummy1 Mon 25-Jul-11 20:58:33

Eurochick, I don't know where you were in the 1970s and 80s, but where I come from, those terms were definitely not acceptable. hmm And besides, if someone is going to make a bit of extra cash out of foreign students staying in their house, then I'd expect them to bring themselves up to date a bit.

OP, definitely send the letter. I wouldn't want my mixed race dd staying with a family like that either. sad

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